Three People Killed in Venezuela During Fresh Protests
Unrest that shook Venezuela's city of Valencia ended with three people dead on Wednesday.
Among the victims were people who did not take part in clashes between the police and anti-government protesters, Spanish newspaper El Mundo has reported.
Jesus Acosta, a student, was shot in the head, reportedly while drinking water at his home in La Isabelina, a municipality of Valencia where clashes have become part of everyday life. His mother explained that the bullet had come from a paramilitary group supporting the government, and her account was later confirmed by neighbors and video footage.
Paramilitary squads are often backed by the police, whom they help to crack down on protests across the country.
Witness accounts confirmed by the mayor of La Isabelina reveal that Guillermo Sanchez, 42 years old, was killed while painting in front of his home.
Captain Ernesto Bravo, an official from the Bolivarian National Guard, was the third victim, thus raising the military toll of the unrest to 2 people.
Demonstrations were also staged in the capital, Caracas, but there were no casualties after police moved in to disperse a peaceful rally attended by about 3000 students.
A total of 24 people have died in Venezuela since the first anti-government rally on February 4.
Protests began as a demand to improve living conditions in oil-rich Venezuela, which is struggling to deal with issues such as crime, inflation, and shortage of essential goods like toilet paper.
Demonstrations have increasingly turned violent over the past weeks, and both opposition and government are accusing each other of backing radical groups that attack protesters with firearms.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, on the other hands, accuse activists and opposition leaders of plotting a coup d'etat against the government. Maduro also claims the US has been involved in the unrest.
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